I’m on vacation with my family in Mazatlan. We’ve been having a great time. But today came the obligatory vacation conversation. We’ve been together for about 3 days and my husband and I have been doing our level best to keep everyone happy. Enough Sprite to drown the tip of Baja for my 7 year old. Enough burgers to make my 16 year old happy – 2 per day is about right. Two trips to the swim up bar per day for Limonatas, On Demand movies (turns out my children are the two people who like Paul Blart: Mall Cop) and swimming in the ocean, in the pool, in the jacuzzi and in our spa tub in the hotel room.
We are lucky. We have it all and so much more. We have health, a loving family and the opportunity to take vacations to beautiful places. My husband and I have been napping, reading, laughing with our children and also arranging, paying and making sure our family is happy.
And it seems that at some point in every vacation, as my Husband and I are cleaning up after our last meal and making arrangements for the next fun activity, we notice that the children are fighting or not helping OR complaining. Complaining is the activity that really tests my patience.
And when complaining reaches a crescendo (and it happens on every vacation) I call a family meeting and explain what isn’t working (complaining) what my husband and I are doing (everything) and what needs to change (the children need to pick up some of the slack.) We then let them have about 30 minutes to “think” about how they would like the rest of the vacation to be and then we are all able to resume our fabulous time together. We also give them a chance to let us know what isn’t working for them and what they would like to have happen during the rest of our time together.
I wish that we didn’t have to deal with issues on vacation, but wishing that is really wishing that we weren’t human. Human beings who spend significant time together will argue, complain and be emotional. The opportunity here is to let our kids know that it’s o.k. and that it’s possible to have a conversation, learn a few things and move on to a fabulous vacation.
I love my family more than I ever imagined was possible and I hope that by talking in the good times and the bad times, I can teach them the incredible value of our bond and of meaningful vacation conversation